Southland 3.07 “Sideways”

Kinda bummed out, not gonna lie.

Here’s the thing: what works on this show is realism.  The Lydia storyline this week was just too much to believe as realistic. The combination of the melodrama of the shooting victim being just a bit too perfect and the ultimate betrayal by her best friend was too much for one episode. I didn’t buy it.

Especially when it’s contrasted with Cooper’s tedious day having to deal with the petty bullshitery of bureaucracy.  This is the heart of this show—actual citizens have a problem, Cooper solves the problem by working the system/doing whatever he has to do to make it right.  I watch the show to see this sort of minutiae.

This show is Ben pulling the wrapper off of a pushpop with his mouth, the steady reassurance of John Cooper, training officer, that Chickie runs towards gunfire and no matter what, she’s a cop even if she’s had the worst day on the job. This show is the quiet desperation of Sammy’s whole life unraveling as he blames himself for things he can’t control.

Lydia’s story felt out of step with that this week.

I don’t care about Dewey except for how he ruins Chickie’s life (deft characterization of her as a surfer who had to get a job to support herself, so a reverse burnout).  This is tacked on because that’s how little of a F I give about Dewey.

Of course, I wouldn’t be so harsh if this show couldn’t do better. It’s like in school how the best students are graded on a completely different curve than the average kids.

[Laura: See, I think the storyline with Russ selling her out was being built up from the moment she got called in for it, so it didn’t feel out of the blue to me, I’ve been waiting for that reveal.  But for me, the whole conversation with the Bullet Brain Dude served a few purposes: 1) we get a black man at a shoot out that was the furthest thing from a tv Black Man In a Shootout.  2) we get further evidence that Lydia just takes everything about her job to heart.  If this was some jackass white dude that started lawyering up as soon as he got in the ambulance, she still would have stayed and talked to him once the doctor said he was going to be dead soon.  That’s just who she is.  3) While all of this doubt is creeping in (not with us because we love our girl and know who she is) about her having sold the pictures or not, it’s just another example of her integrity not just as a cop, but as a person.  So I thought it worked.

But what makes this series shine above the other is exactly what you said – the minutiae that still makes us care more about these guys.  That it was Dewey driving when the woman was hit, and we fucking hate Dewey but you can’t help but feel for the guy when he’s trying to bust a bad guy and they’re trying to do everything by the book.  And shit still happens.  (Which I hope you know makes me circle back to Lydia, shit just happens, and a lot of times shit happens all at once.)

And like you said on last night, that we’re in Season 3 and finally have a criticism speaks volumes about this show.  It’s just that fucking good.]